Greek mythology tells story of Icarus, son of the great Athenian craftsman Daedalus, who built the Labyrinth for King Minos of Crete. The story goes that Daedalus, imprisoned in his own creation by the King, fashioned two sets of wings from feathers and wax so that he and his son could escape. Before taking to the skies, Daedalus warned his son not fly too close to the sea, where dampness would clog his wings, nor too close to the sun, but to follow his path of flight.
But Icarus, overcome with the thrill of flying, ignored his father’s warning, soaring ever higher until the sun melted his wings, and he was left flapping his bare arms. Falling to the sea beneath him, Icarus drowned.
The story of Icarus is one of over-ambition. The Athenian’s failure to recognize the separation between his desire to soar closer to the sun, and his inability to do so, cost him his life. So fabled was his failed flight, that psychoanalyst Henry Murray established the personality theory known as the Icarus Complex to describe an individual with an ego so consuming that it borders on malevolent.
July 19th marked the sixth anniversary of this website…
And yet, despite the considerable lapse in time between posts, I chose not to draw attention to the date. Instead, I spent the day looking at photographs of flowers, sorting through images that I loved and loathed, while I waited for my editor to complete the final read through of a manuscript I have spent the past two years writing.
My decision not to post on the July 19th wasn’t an easy one to make. When I first began blogging, I never imagined that I would achieve everything that I have in the past six years. This site was born out of a yearning to break out of the depressive mindset that often left me feeling alone. The disparity between my dreams of becoming a bestselling author, and my distinct lack of talent to do so, could even have made a man as ambitious as Icarus question my headspace. To not acknowledge just how much I have grown since then seemed wrong.
But the timing wasn’t right. I was just beginning to enjoy writing again after an extended absence, and I didn’t want to force myself to upload something just for the hell of it. So I decided to wait. Until now.
The past six years have been a wild ride. In my most egotistical moments, I have called myself a wolf. In times of self reflection, I have drawn comparisons between my softer side and bouquets of flowers. I have also picked fights with bigots, wrote for other websites, received a few death threats from readers, and somehow managed to strike a chord with the people who return with every post to read my attempts at personal and creative growth.
By December of last year, I had written a hundred and seventy-six posts, built a subscribership of just over eighteen thousand, and amassed over a quarter of a million page views. At the time, I felt as though I was closing the gap between my dreams and the talent that I required to make them a reality. This website, and my nearly completed manuscript, were like wings made of feathers and wax that were going to help me contiuously soar to new heights.
And then I flew too close to the sun and my wings began to melt…
At the start of 2018, I fell into the oceans of anxiety that my writing had allowed me escape from, and I almost drowned. Although I survived, my confidence and creative impulses had been destroyed. By April I was so distraught, confused, and unsure why I had been abandoned by the wolf I have always nurtured inside of me, that I ran away to Europe and spent seven weeks trying to rediscover just who the fuck I am.
I spent 49 days visiting 12 countries, travelling 46,513 kilometres on planes, trains, busses and boats, with an additional 551 kilometres on foot. I shared my room with 127 different roommates, read six books, lived through a bomb threat, found myself in trouble with a member of the Swiss guard, grew a beard, and visited more museums, monuments, and bathhouses than I can even name. But perhaps the most important feat that I accomplished during my travels, was the two blog posts I managed to produce.
While I don’t consider either of the posts to my best work, they helped to repair the confidence I had lost in my writing, and allowed me to understand why I had been struggling to create for so much of this calendar year.
It turns out that I had developed an Icarus Complex. But not in a creative sense like I had originally thought. Not only am I a far better writer than I was six years ago, it has also been a long time since I have dreamed of writing a bestseller. These days I would rather write a book that leaves a lasting impression on an individual, than produce something that is consumed by many and quickly forgotten.
Instead, the disparity I had created in my life was between the man I wanted to become, and the mindset that I believed I required to do so.
My wings of feather and wax had melted when I came too close to a life devoid of human emotion.
After years of living with anxiety and depression, I became consumed with the idea of removing all frustration and angst from my life. I forced myself to constantly look for the positives in every situation. Instead of allowing myself to experience moments of anger and hurt, I began suppressing them to convince myself that life was perfect. By doing this, my world became sterile and uneventful, and my inspiration to write faded.
In hindsight, it’s mind boggling that it took running away to Europe to realise removing angst from my life was a mistake. I have often written about Laozi’s Yin & Yang, noting the importance of embracing all aspects of life. But, I am human. Which means I am perfectly imperfect, and for a few months I lost sight of my own beliefs.
In the two months since arriving back in Australia I have been extremely busy. I have finalised the manuscript I began writing in 2016, selected a cover image I’ve fallen in love with, worked on allowing myself to feel a more complex array of emotion once again (both positive and negative), and although I haven’t posted until now, I have also been writing.
The first half of 2018 has probably been one of the hardest creative periods that I have ever lived through. My refusal to allow myself small doses of anger and frustration in an attempt to be a better person destroyed my desire to create, and I had to completely remove myself from my own reality to realise that. But now that I have come to understand the dangers of soaring too close to the sterilised life I had once misconstrued as perfection, and began to embrace the emotional highs and lows that allow me to create, I’m back. And I’m excited as hell to be blogging again.
Two days ago, I released my sophomore novel You. I began writing the book during the lowest moment of my life, and used it as a means of healing. The book’s release is a defining moment in my life. It is a chance to lay to rest the psychological battles I have waged with anxiety and depression in the past, and to move forward onto new and exciting projects.
I’m thrilled about my future as both a writer and a man. The knowledge that I have rediscovered my passion for writing, and the wolf that howls inside of me is ineffable. To know that I have grown from a boy consumed by anger, into someone who actively avoided angst, and finally into a man comfortable enough to embrace all facets of life, and human emotion, makes me feel more alive than I have ever been.
I know that this post is a few weeks overdue, but I wanted to take a moment to offer my sincerest thank you to everyone who has followed this site over the past six years. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for sharing in my journey. And thank you for being a part of my life. The love that I have for every single one of you is far greater than you could ever understand.
Despite the very lacklustre start to 2018, I hope that you continue to stick around, because Chris Nicholas and the Renegade Press are just getting started.
To learn more about You, please click on the image below:
92 thoughts on “Ineffable”
The book cover is beautiful and draws one in.
Over the last several months, I’ve been struggling with my own anxiety and depression in a way I hadn’t previously. I had reached that point of lacking emotion. That’s party of why I started the blog. It’s been therapeutic for me. I would’ve much rather have gone to Europe, though, lol.
I’ve not been following you for long, but am glad you’ll be back more regularly. The first post of yours that I read was Beggars. It was so beautiful enthralling that I had to stop everything I was doing to finish reading it. You write with passion and intrigue and it would certainly be a disservice for the world not to see it.
Wow! What a captivating post to read. I really enjoyed this, everything from the tone of your writing, to the travel information, and your health. Very well put together.
How you mirror my own state of mind and psyche! And you have the distinction of doing it so well with words.. Your journey is captivating and your integrity shines through in your blog post.
The cover is sensitive.. All the best with your book. Keep writing! Keep growing!
Oh Chris, this is truly wonderful to read. We do live in a world that shuns the extreme highs and lows of emotions, don’t we? Don’t laugh too loud, don’t cry too often, don’t stay sad (just move on)…. no, I believe we need those highs and lows for balance and appreciation. And yes, inspiration. I have been wondering where those lovely posts were and was hoping oh so hoping you’d be back to writing posts again soon. Thank you, once again, for sharing your heart with us, the world.
Sometimes, we’re, in need, of a lookback of sorts, that is why we’re, keeping the accords of our lives, like keeping a diary, or keeping a blog like yours, or mine, or anybody else’s, because we want to keep track of the things that’s, happened in our lives.
Love it! Keep writing! Always enjoyed reading your posts.
I am in awe of ur journey🍃🍃🍃 thanks for the incredible chance to read this. Looking forward to more…
Also, ur style is delicious… my spoon in ur entries (entrees) might never leave the table🍃
Glad to have you back! Looking forward to the book man!
A wonderful account of to hell and back! Thanks for sharing best wishes for your new beginning.
As always, you’re thoughts are beautifully written. Congrats on the book.
love the perspective, especially where you describe personal struggles with perfectionism, expectations and ideals. you have no idea how much your words hold power for a generation that has also lost its voice, sense of real presence and ultimately its hope for anything other than its own inflated egos. we struggle through that in our own ways, but i believe you’ve shown us that it’s possible to find that reconciliation within ourselves to step out and walk on. i haven’t been in this space for long, but you’re one of the few who speak deeply to me. i wish you nothing but happiness, and will love to read your book! cheers!
Congratulations on finding a way out of the hole, and for energizing your creativity and awareness as well.
I understand the struggles you’ve been going through so I understand the absence. But I’m glad to see you’ve returned and am happy to congratulate you on six years of blogging. My three year blogging anniversary (July 28th, 2015) has also just passed. I find it’s usually the perfect time for reflection but don’t necessarily see the point in rushing to make sure a post about it is put up exactly on that day. Then again, I usually have so I’m not one to talk. Either way, I’m happy to continue enjoying your blog and seeing what all you’ll write next. I’ll also try and check out your book, see if it’s something I’ll be interested in reading.
Congratulations! And I with You (and you) much success.
2018 must be one of those years for many of us that seems particularly harrowing and tumultuous.
But you have so sensitively, concisely and eloquently chronologized those hurdles and understandings that only come when we allow the weathering…
The most important thing you have echoed for me is to not surpress the emotions, good, bad, ugly, high or low that ultimately stimulate creatively…
I too have compromised my writing burying what I thought I should ‘manage’ Instead of feel and express… perhaps to know one in particular but to myself…
thank you and welcome back my friend🙏❤️🙏
You’re an artist of the words, congratulations for your book 🙂
Glad to hear your voice again!
Great post! Check out the latest on my blog http://www.beautifulencountersxo.com 😊
Congratulations and best wishes for success in indulging in your passion – writing! Sometimes it is best to just BE and stop seeking or overanalyzing. May you discover your zone and with feet firmly on the ground, soar to greater heights. I enjoy your blogs; thanks.
If a creative person could actually remove the frustration, depression, anxiety and angst from their life, only seeing the good in life, it would suck the passion right out of their work. Writing is an art. Creative people have to face those demons because if you numb your brain in any way to avoid it, your work might become wishy washy. It’s ok to take a break from your writing when you feel overwhelmed and you will come back stronger for it. Congrats on your book and also congrats for being a great writer.
This! You have awakened, my friend and I am happy for you. Stay on your journey with a gentle, kind and compassionate heart. All is waiting for you to discover. Namaste! 🙏🏻
beautiful post. I am just beginning to read your work and I love your use of language, your heart, and the vulnerability you display here. Bravo, here’s to many more years of learning, grieving and putting pen to paper ( or fingertips to keyboard)
Thanks for sharing this! Gives me hope as an aspiring writer and helps me to remember to embrace the valleys and the mountains, instead of living on the plateau. Looking forward to reading your book.
Wonderful news about the release, Chris. Congratulations!
Always great to come out the other side.😉 Best of luck with the release. 🤞
Thanks for sharing such an inspiring piece.
Great post 🙂 glad you feel like yourself again!
Very good post. Congratulations on the book release. Keep writing and keep writing.
I am honored that you have taken time to read my little poems, and that they brought you some pleasure. I have taken chatauguas before, and come back more myself without some of the burrs that I felt before.
Reblogged this on eclectic haze and commented:
an excellent “coming of age”
has SHE read the ‘letter’ ?
p.s.: you know that the ‘perfect imperfection’ means pearl? 🙂
Chris I continue to follow your life and I feel so much of my own self in you that sometimes a deep resistance swells up in my own heart. Like me, I think you will continue to learn and re-learn the same lessons again and again and that will forever be the fodder for the work you so passionately produce.
You recently liked one of my posts (thank you for that!), so I decided to check out your website. This is the first post of yours that I am reading, and almost immediately, I was struck with how candid you are about yourself. I think the most interesting topic to read about is people, and it’s a truly humbling feeling to be allowed into someone’s mind like you have with your readers. Also, I’m not sure if this is a theme among your posts, but incorporating Greek mythology is always a plus for me. Congratulations on your book, and thanks for this post.
I’m excited about the new book! Congratulations. It’s always an experience to have a time of self reflection and come out of that with a new creative fire, with new ideas and places you want to go personally and as a writer. I love the reference to Icarus and the balance needed in all facets of life.
Sometimes we need to run away and get lost in order to be found again. Glad you’re back!
Reblogged this on Ideas.Become.Words and commented:
What an amazingly honest and heartfelt post.
Inspiring to hear of a writer questioning their
own ability, when those around them know
and feel the quality. Icarus in your mind did not
hang around long enough to lose you completely ..
not into the depths of the ocean.
Just perhaps wandering along the sands
of the shore for a few weeks.
Welcome back to blogosphere.
Keep entertaining us.
Had to reblog this .. as you won’t be alone in those thoughts.
I suspect over the next few months, those experiences during this spring and summer will make appearances in your work, with a slight twist here and there!
Keep smiling and talking.
Great post, Chris and congratulations on your novel’s release!
Honest! So happy for you! Congratulations on the book – will look it up
Congratulations on your new beginning! A wonderful post that gives hope and inspiration. Although you are an established author I have nominated you for The Blogger Recognition Award. It seems appropriate because you are at a new beginning and you share such inspiring posts. I just want to acknowledge all that you do and show appreciation. https://marsaalamdesertretreat.com/2018/09/04/blogger-recognition-award/awards-and-recognition/
Clearly you are an excellent writer. I am so impressed and somewhat jealous of what you have achieved with your blog.
I’ve been going through something similar, regarding perfection in life and the creative process. Icarus was on my mind for three months straight. I didn’t come across the Icarus Complex in my undergrad, but that’s interesting to hear such a term for a grandiose-type narcissist. Yet … something I appreciate about Icarus, dare I say love about his story? That sheer joy. Climbing higher and higher, as if to touch the Sun. The rush of the torrential waves and that middle-space in between, neutral and passionless in comparison. Yes, the chaos below killed him, ruin by ambition. But my soul sighs contentedly and smiles. How wondrous it was, for that heart-thrilling, scant and scathed eternity, to fly beyond the darling sky.
Kekeke. I’m glad to read of your return, Chris. Welcome home.
Lovely to have you back, Chris. The cover is beautiful and magically understated – a rare thing these days, but all the more powerful. And I love the way you have shifted from the ‘success’ aime to wanting readers to simply get some resonance and food for the soul from your writing. Like many others, I stay with you for your candour and thought processes. Congratulations on publishing ‘You’!
Hi Chris, I came across your blog because you somehow came across mine and you ‘liked’ the post that I’d written. So out of curiosity, I popped over to see what you’ve written (you know how WordPress notifies eh?). Well, I clicked on your Subscribe button just before I wrote this comment, so I think that says it all. Love Ineffable. Love your style, your philosophy…..I’m so glad you came across my post! Now I’ll get to read more of you from time to time! How cool!
…an author’s dreams are achieved when they move just one reader. This is an extremely encouraging and powerful precept for me, a new blogger who has only been at it about 4 months. I hope that from now, and into the future, regardless of how many years I continue, that I will always keep this in mind. It isn’t about how much money you make, it isn’t about how many clicks or comments you get, it isn’t about how many advertisers you have, but rather it is about those who can benefit from your ramblings. Even if it is only one person; you have done something that many people never accomplish in their whole lives. I hope to always keep in mind that my writings are not about how I can benefit myself, but rather how I can benefit others. Thank, Chris, for the inspiration.
Hi Chris……. I came across this blog cause you had visited mine…… It’s radically different than mine, mine being movies and movie news based but this post really did connect with me. I felt every word you have written and I can relate. I hope that you keep writing such heartfelt and poignant pieces because you may not realize it, but they make a difference.
Blogging in its true form is very personal isn’t it? But some how we take that personal aspect of ourselves , brave the winds, and share with the world…hoping to help someone? Mostly to heal ourselves and help another along the way. If we can’t help self first it’s difficult to help anyone else.
Happy Anniversary!! 🙂 Thank you for your transparency and your insight ❤